ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES OF STAFF Strengthen Resilience in International Humanitarian and Development...

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  • ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES OF STAFF CARE

    PRACTICES TO STRENGTHEN RESILIENCE IN INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS

    Developed by The KonTerra Group and released with InsideNGO and DisasterReady.org

  • The Essential Principles of Staff Care: Practices to

    Strengthen Resilience in International Humanitarian

    and Development Organizations could not have been

    developed without the input – formal and informal –

    of many people around the world.

    We are deeply grateful to all of the organizations

    that we have worked with over the years. Together

    we have learned what can help foster resilience for

    those working in international humanitarian and

    development contexts. The leaders and staff of

    these organizations have been welcome partners

    in developing and refining good practices and

    approaches to staff care.

    The KonTerra Group is honored to release Essential

    Principles of Staff Care with InsideNGO and Disaster-

    Ready.org. These organizations are leaders in educat-

    ing and advocating for staff care within international

    humanitarian and development organizations. Marie

    McNamee at InsideNGO and Tina Bolding at Disaster-

    Ready.org have brought to this process a deep under-

    standing of the sector and a fierce commitment to the

    well-being of staff around the world.

    The Essential Principles of Staff Care was immeasurably

    improved by the review and input of formal

    reviewers. We express our profound thanks to them:

    members of InterAction’s Security Advisory Group;

    Nanette Cantrell, NLC Consultants; Jessica Carl, Mercy

    Corps; Bernadette Channer, Management Sciences

    for Health; Lorraine Elshiekh, Episcopal Relief &

    Development; Michael Hegenauer, World Vision

    International; Heather Hicks, Reconciled World;

    Emmanuelle Lacroix, Cornerstone on Demand

    Foundation; Ann Moffett, CARE; Jennifer Morrison,

    Chemonics; David Palasits, Catholic Relief Services;

    Peg Ross, PCI; Jeri Westad, Food for the Hungry;

    Christine Williamson, International Duty of Care;

    Agnieszka Zieminska Yank, Technoserve.

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    Essential Principals of Staff Care 1

  • International humanitarian and development work is

    often rewarding. It can also be challenging, especially

    to the psychological health of individuals working or

    volunteering in this field. Organizations also have a

    legal and moral obligation to protect and enhance the

    well-being of their people. They have the responsibility

    to take reasonable steps to mitigate foreseeable risks

    to the physical and psychological health and safety of

    personnel. Taking steps to mitigate these risks helps

    to fulfill an organization’s duty of care.

    There are a number of benefits to promoting the

    health and safety of humanitarian and development

    personnel. People who are feel physically safe and

    psychologically secure are more likely to be productive

    and engaged. A productive and engaged workforce

    may have low levels of absenteeism and high levels of

    loyalty. An organization’s reputation for taking care of

    their team members may mean they are able to attract

    the top talent. These factors arguably contribute to an

    organization that has greater likelihood of achieving

    its mission.

    The risks of not taking seriously the health and safety

    of individuals are acute. An organization experiencing

    high levels of stress may see an increase in risk-taking

    behavior or security incidents because of poor judge-

    ment. Turnover may be high and the organization may

    have a difficult time recruiting for open positions. Ig-

    noring obligations to the health and safety of staff may

    expose an organization to legal liability and the finan-

    cial and reputational consequences that could follow.

    There is growing recognition of the need for human-

    itarian and development organizations to do more to

    protect and enhance the psychological health of their

    people. Resilience, the ability to recover from shock

    and sustain energy during chronic upheaval, is a key

    contributor to psychological health and longevity in

    this field. Thankfully, more and more organizations

    are establishing programs and offering services to

    promote resilience, something commonly referred to

    as staff care.

    Essential Principles of Staff Care: Practices to

    Strengthen Resilience in International Humanitarian

    and Development Organizations aims to outline

    the principles and practices that, if implemented,

    will contribute to the resilience and psychological

    health of humanitarian and development personnel

    and strengthen an organization’s ability to offer a

    comprehensive staff care program. Throughout this

    document we use the phrase “staff care and resilience.”

    The use of this phrase reflects a central philosophy

    in our work. We believe organizations have a role to

    play in promoting psychological health. They do this

    through staff care programs and services. We believe

    that individuals have reservoirs of strengths and

    abilities and a responsibility to protect and steward

    those strengths and abilities. This is resilience. We use

    the phrase “staff care and resilience” to reflect the

    joint responsibility and opportunity to contribute to a

    workforce that thrives.

    Essential Principles of Staff Care has been developed

    based on The KonTerra Group’s experience delivering

    staff care services. For nearly a decade, in more than

    50 countries and with more than 70 organizations, we

    have worked in close partnership with NGOs, govern-

    ment agencies and private sector development actors

    to develop and implement staff care services for inter-

    national and national staff alike. These partnerships

    have revealed important lessons that are distilled in

    the Essential Principles of Staff Care.

    It is our hope the ideas in this document evolve over

    time as everyone that cares about the well-being

    of personnel continue to work together and learn.

    We believe the Essential Principles of Staff Care can

    be a useful tool for organizations who desire further

    guidance about how best to support their people.

    INTRODUCTION

    Essential Principals of Staff Care 2

  • Each Principle outlines a high level goal that, when

    considered with the others, provides a framework

    for organizational responsibility for the psychological

    health of their employees.

    Each Principle also includes one or more Objectives.

    Objectives help to translate the respective Principle

    into action. The Practices are concrete actions that

    operationalize the Objectives.

    In this document we most frequently use the word

    “staff” or “employee” to describe the people that work

    together to achieve the organization’s mission. Your

    organization may have employees, volunteers, interns,

    fellows, consultants, seconded personnel and more.

    An organization has a duty of care to all its people. For

    simplicity’s sake, we have chosen to use the term “staff”

    or “employee.” As you read through this document,

    please consider all those that engage with your work,

    whatever their title may be.

    • Benchmark your organization against industry best practices

    • Provide guidance to begin a staff care program

    • Identify gaps in an existing staff care program

    • Help assess if your organization is fulfilling its duty of care responsibilities

    • Advocate for donor funding for staff care services and programs

    • Assist an applicant in determining if a hiring organization is providing appropriate support to its people

    The Essential Principles of Staff Care are based on

    our experience working with many different enti-

    ties, including large and small organizations, human-

    itarian and development actors, sector-specific and

    multi-sector NGOs, donors, and organizations with

    secular and faith-based missions. We trust the Essen-

    tial Principles of Staff Care: Practices to Strengthen

    Resilience in International Humanitarian and Develop-

    ment Organizations will assist you to establish policies,

    programs and services that support the resilience and

    psychological health of humanitarian and develop-

    ment personnel around the world.

    STRUCTURE OF ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES OF STAFF CARE The following document articulates six essential principles of staff care, objectives and accompanying practices.

    USING ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES OF STAFF CARE There are a variety of ways to use the Essential Principles of Staff Care:

    Essential Principals of Staff Care 3

  • ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT

    PRINCIPLE 1: Embrace an organizational commitment to staff care and resilience and implement policies and procedures to that end.

    staff care and resilience

    STAFF SELECTION

    PRINCIPLE 2